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The Difference Between Web and Print

Many Web design artists come to the Web already having a print background. They were either print artists, or they are just used to the control that a print world gives. At the time print a project, it provides permanence and stability. That does not happen with Web.
The problem is, that it's really easy to forget. When you build your Web page and have a trial run in your browser, you get it looking exactly the way you like it to look. But then you have a trial in another browser, and it appears to be different. And when you move to another OS, it will look differently again.
As you're a designer, you have to consider users. You will not be doing them and yourself a favor if you don't explain the difference between print and the Web. Especially if you bring your portfolio as print outs. This is a common problem, where the customer expects the printout to represent exactly what the page will look like.
What To Do
Working with Customers
  • Printed Pages for your Portfolio It is very helpful to have a portfolio, but consider that the Web is different from print, and including a printed page is not a strong example of your Web site development skills.
  • Setting Expectations Be honest with your clients. If they require their site to have one certain layout, font, and images, make sure you explain the tradeoffs like download speed and maintenance before simply building them a totally graphical page.
  • Know what the customer uses If happen to be a big Opera or Mac fan, and your customer only uses Internet Explorer for Windows, you should keep this in mind in your project. Your site could look dramatically different to them.
Design Tips
  • Know your audience Know the characteristics of the users of the page you're building. If they are geeks, they might browse in Unix on a 21 inch monitor. Or if they are more conservative they might own a 12 inch monitor working with Internet Explorer 3. If you create a site that works for your users, your clients won't be complaining to you later.
  • Test test test Test your designs in all the browser and OS combination that you can get your hands on. Emulators are fine if you have no other choice, but there is no replacement for a real experience.
  • Don't forget resolution Software and platforms are important, but if the readers and customers are working on a smaller screen than you design on, they will be disappointed

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